State is Largest Polluter of Merrymeeting River

New water quality report finds fish hatchery responsible for algae blooms

September 26, 2019 (CONCORD, NH) – An independent water quality report has found that the largest polluter of New Hampshire’s Merrymeeting River is the state Fish and Game Department. The report comes amid an ongoing lawsuit from Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) alleging that pollution from the agency’s Powder Mill State Fish Hatchery is causing toxic algae blooms in the river.

“This is proof positive of what CLF has been saying for months: the state is severely degrading the Merrymeeting River,” said Tom Irwin, Vice President and Director of CLF New Hampshire. “Pollution from the Powder Mill hatchery is causing toxic algae blooms, preventing use of the river during summer months and imperiling public health. The state must put an end to this illegal pollution and clean up the mess it has made.”

Among other findings, the water quality report found that 67% of the phosphorus and nitrogen pollution in the Merrymeeting River comes from the Powder Mill State Fish Hatchery. This pollution leads to toxic algae blooms, which choke wildlife and sicken people and pets. The report also found that runoff from increased development has led to a degradation of water quality in the area.

The report recommends enhancing water quality monitoring, cleaning up the nutrient pollution from the state fish hatchery, increasing conservation lands, and enforcing existing regulations regarding storm runoff and septic discharges.

The full report can be found here.

CLF experts are available for further comment.